Along the banks of the Batanghari River on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, thick black coal dust billows from mountainous stockpiles belonging to the coal company PT Tegas Guna Mandari (TGM). For Zalmiati, a 42-year-old woman from Muara Jambi village, the sight of coal dust in the air is nothing new. The dust, which gets worse during the dry season, blows into her home and covers the floor, the walls, and even the cooking utensils inside her pantry. “The drinking water, if it hasn’t been completely covered, will be contaminated with coal dust,” Zalmiati says. “If we want to eat, the glasses, plates, they must first be dipped in water. If not, they are all covered in coal.” She blames pollution from the stockpiles for a persistent cough, which also worsens during the dry season. “I’ve already received various treatments, but … I am still not healthy. People say this cough is from the coal dust.” Maryani, a resident of Muara Jambi village, shows a hand covered in black dust from the walls of her house. Image by Yitno Suprapto/Mongabay Indonesia Her neighbor, Maryani, echoes her concerns. “Even if the door is closed, the dust gets in,” she says. She runs her fingers along the window; they come away black with coal residue. She says she also believes the stockpiles are causing health problems in the village, where children as young as 4 years old have experienced months-long coughs. Companies have been stockpiling coal in this part of Sumatra’s Jambi…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer